India were forced into a decision on the eve of the second Test on the back of Shardul Thakur’s injury, with the management eventually replacing him with Ishant Sharma. While the Men in Blue wouldn’t have to worry about the pecking order, the return of Ravichandran Ashwin into the setup might force the selectors to pick and choose their pacers. Former Indian batsman VVS Laxman bats for Mohammed Siraj’s inclusion as the third pacer even in the presence of Ishant Sharma.
“Siraj is definitely higher than Ishant Sharma in the pecking order, he has been really impressive. He is making a statement and I love his attitude. The best thing is that he has improved his control from the first Test in Nottingham. As far as hitting the lengths and lines, he has been bang on. It could be a breakthrough tour for him, especially after his performance in Australia. He is so aggressive and energetic, which is adding a lot to the Indian setup,” Laxman told ESPNCricinfo on the show.
On the other hand, Laxman was cross with the display from the Indian middle-order duo of Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara, who continued their lacklustre run in Test cricket with just ten runs in between them in the first innings. Laxman was of the opinion that Rahane’s tentative footwork and indecisiveness is costing the Indian team.
“Both Rahane and Pujara will be disappointed that they are repeating the same mistake, which has led to their dismissals in the last 8-10 months. We saw Rahane getting out in a very similar fashion in Australia. Today, if you see the replays very closely you will realise that he was late on the ball. His left foot was still in the air, there was no transfer of body weight,” Laxman said,
“Even today we saw very very tentative footwork. Whenever you are indecisive, whenever you are trying to look at the outcome instead of concentrating on the ball, you always tend to reach out for the ball.”
Laxman also hoped that the outside noise is not playing on their minds and insisted that the pressure will keep building up with every low score.
“I hope the outside noise is not playing on the minds of Pujara and Rahane. There is always more pressure on established players because there are youngsters waiting to take your spot. That pressure keeps getting more with each low score,” he concluded.